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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 3, 2015 3:00am-5:01am EDT

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thank you, mr. chairman. you implied and didn't expand upon it that you're going to look at the cars themselves, whether or not more resilient cars could better protect passengers in crashes, is that correct? >> that's correct. mr. defazio: have you looked at that previously? >> yes. we've been looking at passenger car crash worthiness for several years. mr. defazio: what can we design -- mr. boardman, i believe, these cars are what era? '70s? >> they started being delivered in about 1975. >> and have you asked to replace them? >> we have a plan to rebuild these cars and we are replacing
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some cars at this point in time. the ones that were built in the '40s. >> in the '40s? >> yes, sir. >> and are you going to somehow improve their resilience in the case of crash? >> our expectation is to be able to use crash energy management which is something the entire passenger industry is beginning to do. >> but these current cars don't meet whatever -- >> they do not. >> and what would that take? >> in terms of dollars? >> yes. have you asked for this mono? >> . >> if we asked for replacement we would talk about $4 billion. >> have you made a request? >> we've made requests for rebuilding and some questions for replacing. >> ok. and what happened to those requests? >> the requests for replacing was a complex request because if they were long-distance trains or they weren't receiving enough revenue for us to be able to pay back on. >> but the bottom line is were you allocated the congress or not? >> no, sir. >> so congress denied you the money? >> yes, sir. >> again, back to mr. hart, do you believe that we could either rehab these cars
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he's talking about in a way that would increase resilience and surviveability or do you think they need to be totally relaced? >> thank you for the question. that's one of the things we've been looking into and we'll look at it here just as we are currently with the ramada accident with the crash worthiness of their cars. >> would you pull your microphone closer, please. >> i'm sorry. yes, both for this accident as we are with the ramada accident in terms of the crash worthiness of the cars. whether it will be new cars or whether these can be fixed. >> ok. when i look at photos, i mean, the locomotive looks pretty intact and, think, that's new construction and the engineer obviously survived yet that first car i've never seen and i heard some first responders say they've never dealt with anything like that before. so, i mean, that implies -- are there other in other nations or elsewhere around the world where they have modern railroads, do they have more crash worthiness in their passenger cars? >> that will be part of our investigation is what other countries are doing in this respect is making sure that we're the leading edge of crash worthiness on the car. >> ms. feinberg, i appreciate that you will push very hard. commuter railroads are one of the greatest laggards here and they've asked help of congress and they're at a loss now to get
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this technology installed. ms. feinberg: that's right. we've asked for $875 million to assist commuters, commuter railroads and implementing ptc. we've also opened up the riff program for railroads who are looking for loans that will assist with ptc implementation. so we just completed work on a $967 million loan to mta that will assist with the ptc implementation, and then as we approach the deadline, one of the things we have asked the congress for authority for previously is to work with railroads who absolutely won't miss the deadline. who absolutely will miss the deadline, to work with them to bring, to raise the safety bar in the interim. >> so they will dodge some sort of interoperating changes to compensate for the lack of positive train control. >> exactly. and they would have to go through an approval process and work with us. we continue to hold their feet to the fire to make sure they're working toward ptc implementation.
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>> and when you look at a step process, those that are really trying versus those who haven't tried at all? >> i would expect it would be merit based. correct. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. boardman, what operations has amtrak made since the accident? what has amtrak made and will they be instituting others? mr. boardman: we did the the code change on the northbound section of the frankfort curve as requested by the fra.
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we've been evaluating the rest of the curves as required by the fra, and also checking checking the entire northeast corridor to ensure we had speed limit signs along the way that all met the requirements of the emergency order. in terms of how we check on our engineers, we have a very robust and regular method that we check engineers. for example, just since january 1st of '14 until now, we've had over 16,000 speed checks of
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engineers along the northeast corridor. so that's like 35 times a day do we check somebody along the northeast corridor to make sure that they're operating at the right speed. we have a recurring training program, a black training program that lasts for a week every year, and they have to be certified on a biannual basis. so we have -- we continue to do that. we continue any kinds of changes that occur. we continue to provide additional training for engineers. >> thank you. how many curves does amtrak now have after doing this audit that have atc how many do you still have that you want to implement the atc on? mr. boardman: after the back bay accident and the consensus for what they need to accomplish they identified six curves. one of those was the northbound section of the frankfurt curve. since fra requested us to look at it under the new circumstances, we've identified at least four more at this point in time.
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we had 300 curves on the northeast corridor that could meet the newer conditions, and we're moving forward with those. >> one of the questions that has continued to come up -- we've done the reauthorization bill. we funded it fully out of this committee. what guarantees do we have that the northeast corridor profits will actually be used to implement new safety and ptc regulations? >> the way that we have worked with the committee on how we're developing a program is to make safety decisions on safety issues, and funding decisions are really about the larger scale of infrastructure, not only for the railroads, but for highways and for aviation, which i've been talking about for several years at this point in time, and the necessity for increases in that way. safety decisions. we're making those decisions and making sure we provide safety decisions. >> i guess the fundamental
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lesson is -- fundamental question is when we pass a broad bill like that, what types of guarantees would there be on the priorities of the spending patterns? last year amtrak spent $350 million on new cars. that may be an important issue but the question is it a priority of congress? is it a priority of amtrak? and do the priorities align? mr. boardman: >> we think they do, congressman. we work regularly with the staff of the committee. with work with all of those interested in both safety and the improvements along the northeast corridor. the sufficiency of funding to do all the things that we want to do, there's always scarce resources. so we have to make those decisions based on those scarce
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resources. but we don't reduce the idea that we need to have a safe railroad. we make safe decisions along the way. thank you. and my time is nearly expired. let me thank you for your efforts. mr. feinberg as well as the mayor of philadelphia all coming together for a very, very rapid response. i appreciate not only the collaboration, but certainly the timeliness. and i know speaking on behalf of mr. capuano, working with you and helping to understand how we can resolve the problems in the future. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank the board, the panel for the testimony you've had. it's very thoughtful and very difficult decision to make. i would like to ask you, is the ntsb taking a look at the decisions on prioritization of the ptc, or is that beyond the scope of your normal activities? >> we would look at the specific event and determine what needs to be done to prevent that from happening again? >> but you wouldn't be in the
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business of determining whether the prioritization made by amtrak or others, ptc, let's assume everybody did ptc tomorrow, there can't be implemented tomorrow. every rail company in the country would have to determine what do we do second, third fourth, fifth? that would not be in the normal per view? that would be correct. exactly how we would lead that to the implement. >> that's fair enough. that's what i expected. miss feinberg, do you agree with mr. boardman's comments that amtrak will reach the december 2015 deadline to get ptc in the entire northeast corridor? >> we see no reason they will not meet the deadline. >> and do you have an estimate of time frame for the rest of the corridor?
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>> well, beyond the northeast corridor, other than in michigan, the amtrak decision will be dependent on freights implementing ptc. so that could take some time. >> do you have any estimate on the cost of that? >> the cost is in the billions. billions have been spent. they have billions further to go. >> multiple billions of dollars to the rest of the amtrak system? >> yes? >> and what habit the rest of the class one freight railroads? how much would that cost? >> i actually thought that was the question you were just asking. so again billions. >> what about the short lines? are they implementing positive train control or just for the class ones at amtrak? >> it's for class ones and for passenger railroads. >> so the short freights will not be doing it? >> we are working with the short lines a bit separately. >> what about commuter rail? will they be doing it? >> yes. >> what about subway systems?
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i would hope the fta would be working with you on that. >> we work closely with fta, and they work closely with their organizations. >> so even under the best case scenario, that the government was flush with money, it would take multiple billions of dollars and many years to get from where we are to where we want to be on positive trade control across the line. is that affair assessment? >> i would agree with you on multiple billions with a "b." in terms of multiple years, i worry we are approaching that position. but we believe there is a congressionally mandated deadline. we intend to enforce against it. this is not a new requirement for railroads. >> mr. hart, have you taken a look at the accident, whether the seat belts would have helped or not? >> yes, we are looking at that. >> so that will be part of the
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final report when you have one? >> yes. >> because i just road the train up to philadelphia. there are no seat belts on the train. yet i flew down here today from boston. i had a seat belt on the entire time. and it would strike me that -- i don't know. i have no idea and i'm looking the forward to your report, that seat belts would be something that should be considered both to prevent death and injury. >> we will be looking at that. >> if they recommend seat belts in passenger trains, is that something you would pursue? >> it would certainly be something we would look at. there are different opinions about the requirements of seat belts on trains. >> different opinions? >> yeah, well i recognize that seat belts might seem like a good solution in the event of an
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accident, there are also people who tend to be up and walking around between cars during an accident. the fact that you would have to harden the seats in order to put seat belts into the seats. >> i understand about the current figurations but i would suggest talk to them about automobiles, about planes. the concept of seat belts, i was under the impression it was no longer debatable that seat belts in an accident at any speed, preferable to no seat belts. if that's the case, maybe i'll take mine out of the car too. >> we would certainly work closely with the ntsb, just as we do on every recommendation. but the hardening of the seats that would be required would cause more injuries in the accident. >> so we're back at it again. how many people will have to die or get injured before bewe take -- injured before we take the next step.
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the same questions we've had with automobiles. the same question with planes. no, sir. -- the same question with planes. >> no, sir. not a cost benefit issue. simply how do you keep the most people inside the car safe. >> thank you, with that mr. duncan is recognized for five minutes. >> miss feinberg, last week secretary of fox appeared to agree that this accident was not necessarily caused by lack of funding. in fact, his exact quote was i don't think you can categorically say that more funding would have changed things. do you agree with that statement? >> i think he was referring to the behavior of the engineer. i do think there are issues yes. >> mr. boardman, i noticed total operating revenues of amtrak have gone up from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion about 700 billion increase in funding.
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and on top of that, the government has given you $1.4 billion in additional funds each year. and i'm assuming that you felt that amtrak was moving fast enough in installing positive train control because you said in your testimony that you were ahead of every other railroad. is that correct? >> we are ahead of every other railroad. >> and i'm also assuming that you were shocked by this accident because you testified that it's been 28 years since you had a derailment caused fatality, or fatality caused by derailment. so railroad passenger travel is still about the safest method of transportation. is that correct? >> we believe that, yes.
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>> and did you ever tell this committee or the congress that you didn't have the funds to move fast enough on ininstallation of positive train control? >> we did not. >> all right. ms. feinberg, how do you intend to -- what enforcement actions would you take against railroads that aren't moving fast in you -- moving fast enough, and would you -- would a railroad be given credit -- for instance, if one railroad is a little bit behind another railroad in installation, but they have a better safety record, or maybe they have the best safety record of any railroad, would they be given credit for that good safety record? ms. feinberg: we have having an internal conversation at fra now about how exactly we will plan to enforce against the deadline. just as we discussed previously,
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there are some railroads have behaved here better than others. certainly, and we don't want to punish railroads further ahead for the behavior of railroads who have not done any work on implementation at all. so we're having an internal conversation. we have discretion within the statute on how we enforce against the deadline, it can include anything from very little enforcement to daily civil penalties. >> all right. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. duncan. with that, mr. serros is recognized for five minutes. mr. serros: thank you, mr. chairman. you know, i ride the amtrak just about every week. i ride the amtrak just about every week. and this accident really hit home. miss feinberg and mr. boardman, can you speak to the future of amtrak and passenger rail if congress continues to use patchwork approach to funding improvements?
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mr. boardman: well, i would like to say, mr. sires, that my concern has been the reliability of the railroad. the reliability of what we do for our hardware on our system. the reliability of our use of tunnels. whether it's in new york or through the baltimore tunnels. that our reliability on the portal bridge that's ready to be rebuilt that doesn't always shut properly. so the funding for infrastructure on the northeast corridor is absolutely behind the curve. in the last reauthorization of our funding in the pria act, there was a commission established out of all the states, the federal government and amtrak, along the northeast
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corridor, and that's where the $21 billion backlog came from of the necessity for us to rebuild corridor corridor. -- for us to rebuild this corridor. we also have a requirement because of the growth of traffic on this corridor. we're handling over 2,000 trains. a day on the corridor, amtrak does, is that we need more capacity. which means we need new assets well. some new tunnels into new york. another new bridge going into new york especially. and we need to fix this point that we have. from my perspective, that's where the funding is really needed. we make safety decisions based on safety. and the infrastructure decisions were being made based on the available funds. >> thank you. mr. hart, i just can't understand -- this is 2015, and we're still analyzing whether seat belts would have made a
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difference. i still do not agree with the congressman that all these cars and planes, they have shown that it works, and i don't understand why in 2015 we're still analyzing this. and in terms of people walking around in the train, i mean, people get up and walk in a plane too, right. but you take your life in your hands when you walk around these trains back and forth, so can you answer that? i don't see why we have to analyze this anymore. analyzing this to what? mr. hart: thank you for the question. we're looking at the total safety. not just the seat belts, but
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-- there are several seats that can be detached. we're looking at the totality of circumstances on how to protect the occupants. mr. sires: well, i got to tell you, looking at the seats, it just seems logical to me that seat belts would make a difference. and to wait to analyze it more and more and more, i don't get it. i would be comfortable wearing a seat belt, and i go on the train, monday, tuesday thursdays and fridays. i don't see it. we have to wait for this. ms. feinberg, can you talk to this? ms. feinberg: in my experience, the ntsb is not shy about recommending improvements to
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safety. and so we will work closely with them, and anything that comes out of the accident we will work very closely in. mr. sires: will you say this is one of the cheapest accommodations that you would make? ms. feinberg: on seat belts? mr. sires: -- ms. feinberg: on seat belts? no, i would not. ms. feinberg:sires: it's more expensive than other accommodations? ms. feinberg: it's implementing seat belts, and again, implementing seat belts on trains would require the change of every seat, which would again, expense is not the
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priority here, but we would have to harden all of the seats. mr. sires: thank you, mr. chairman. >> that would cost billions of dollars is what you're saying? >> yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, mr. hart, i have a copy of the metro link crash report from 2008. you're familiar with that. >> yes, i am. and in that, you had two recommendations, major recommendations. one that we have cameras installed. inward looking cameras? >> yes. and then you also had the positive train control recommendation, correct? >> yes. >> i want to talk about both of those. let's go back to the 2008 report f you just look at it. that wasn't the first time you recommended cameras or audio devices, correct? >> correct. >> in 1997, after a 1996 crash and no operating crew members survived. this was an amtrak train near silver springs, maryland, you recommended. that's r 97-9 recommendation. then you had another accident with no surviving crew members that occurred in 1999 in bryant, ohio, is that correct? and a recommendation which is r-97-9. the first recommended fra that they install these devices, and then the second one was back in '99. also recommended that the fra
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install this. then your recommendation in 2005, there was a crash of a cn freight train in mississippi. ntsb made the following recommendations to fra. is that correct, sir? yes, that's correct. what did fra did, miss feinberg? >> previously the fra has not taken action on -- >> they have not taken action on any of these. ok, and then 2008 was also a recommendation. they did not take action on that, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> in fact, it's been very difficult. in fact since then, many freight rails have installed those devices. are you aware of that, ma'am? >> yes, sir.
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>> in fact, but it's been difficult. in fact, they had to go through lawsuits. i want this to be entered into the record. here's kansas city southern was attempting to put into cameras in the cab. they were sued by mr. comstock and his group. not only will both unions fervently apose the lawsuit, they will ask the court to join them from going ahead with a plan. could we put that in the record please? that's cameras and history and nothing being done. let's talk about financing these and positive train control. you just recommended you're going to have fra financing available? >> the rif program does have financing available. >> ok, since 2012, how many riff loans have there been? >> i believe there have been three.
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>> two up till this year, i think. well, a total of three. the joke is there are more fra administrators, we've had more fra administrators than we've had rif loans. so you have the capability to loan money if you need adjustment and you need to get to us. in fact, the private sector has the responsibility for installing positive train control. they've actually run into some problems, haven't they, with fcc? so another agency has delayed this. part of the problem was native americans and approval by fcc of those requests. isn't that true? it's not all the freight railroad. some of that has been delayed. i would like that submitted for the record to all show that there have been problems with fcc. in fact, do you know how many licenses sec has done per year
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approved on average. quick as do not know how many per year. >> 2000 each year. do you know how many have been required to have been approved and get approved so they can get the stuff and subtest stuff -- get the stuff by the end of the year? when you say you're going to take them to task, i do not think that is the right thing to do. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> i think the gentleman. ms. norton, you have five minutes. >> the focus has been on positive train control because
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it seems like the silver bullet. i am leery of silver bullets. i know that ms. feinberg testified that human factors continue to be the leading cause. she said on page six of her testimony, i think this train was going at 150 miles per hour. ms. norton: on page six of his testimony, he says that although there has been concern about speed disorder, he focuses on information and far too many surprise calls for work. he says we have identified these for more than a decade. confirmed data also shows there were work cycles where engineers move from shift to shift
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routinely contributing to fatigue -- yet, very little has been done to address any of these issues. mr. boardman on november 25 i wrote to a letter concerning precisely the issues of fatigue. i will ask you today particularly considering that these very tracks carried volatile substances, as well as passengers -- i will ask you about the amtrak proposal to reconfigure work schedules with train and engineered service employees at union station and road service elsewhere on the northeast corridor. i would like to know if you are continuing to reconfigure these work schedules even after this accident, or rather, or if you
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have slow down on these work schedules for the time being? >> changed along the northeast quarter remain. the difficulties that were testified to in terms of unpredictable work schedules do not really exist in passenger railroads -- unless there is unpredictable weather or we have a problem on the long-distance trains there is a pretty predictable schedule that occurs. >> so there are 12 hour shifts that are mandated. mr. boardman: they are not mandated. there is a. of time a half between the work schedule that they have. ms. norton: let me ask mr. pierce. mr. pierce, would you comment on what mr. boardman has said and
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on this notion of poor lineup and surprise calls to work? does that continue and what has the effect been on workers. >> my comments were inclusive. we view that as a related issue. amtrak at jobs are scheduled. there are cases where the shift changes and the common people rotate from one shift to another -- contributing to fatigue we intended to at least note to the things that can in -- contribute to unsafe rail conditions. it has been identified for the ntsb for a long time. it is something we still try to get our arms around. ms. norton: i would like to ask a witness from ntsb. whether you are looking at fatigue as well as the absence
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-- when you are looking at instances of possible fatigue, i am assuming we do not have people driving 100 plus miles around the curb. i'm looking at what may have caused this engineer to be driving at excessive speeds around this curb. mr. pierce: we typically look at fatigue and all incidents. the teak management programs and science based principles determine things like shift changes. we know that is difficult. we look at that and have for quite a few years. ms. norton: have you looked at the 12 hour work shifts and determined if they are safe with the surprise calls. >> we have looked at the cycle of shift changes and made it suggestions that these needed to be based on science.
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ms. norton: thank you very much. >> mr. boardman, i'm a little bit confused. i think there was a conscious decision, well first of all in your testimony you said that the southbound was in place. northbound was not because -- i think i read a report there was a decision that they could not get enough speed. you said the max speed they could get to was 80 miles per hour and the derailment speed was 90. is that correct? mr. boardman: knows there. -- no sir. it is in them -- it is a maximum allowed speed. the turnover speed around the corner was 98 miles per hour. >> i understand that.
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when i read the report, the reason it was on the southbound -- mr. boardman: i want you to understand it is not positive train control we are talking about, it is automatic train control. that is a major difference on how it operates. >> automatic train control is on the southbound track and not the northbound track? mr. boardman: yes sir. >> when you were talking about the 900 megahertz -- mr. boardman: yes. >> it is all automated on the northbound. mr. boardman: there is no positive train control at all. it is using an automatic code. they were made initially for not having one train run into one
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another on an automated block system. i am digging into a much deeper peace here. >> i'm trying to understand this a little bit better. does the engine on this train have the capabilities for faster speeds than we previously thought. mr. boardman: these do have a difference performance metric just like we have different kinds of locomotives out there that have different characteristics. it would not surprise me if it does. >> i think back in 2013 in a hearing you told schuster that the biggest priority for amtrak was the northeast corridor. i believe he responded that the long-distance services -- the big question here today is
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why was the pcc not implemented sooner on the northeast corridor? where they were reprogrammed at other ends of the country for long-distance services -- mr. boardman: we made decisions based on safety and we knew what the scheduled time was and what the deadline was going to be -- december 21 of 2015. we were working against that and resolve any problems as we moved along through the process. >> mr. pierce, in your testimony you have a number of accidents cited. two person crews were determined to mr.pierce: there was one accident cited that was not a
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preventable accident area when two trains get on the same block , there is no meaningful way for them to avoid collision in that circumstance. we do not believe that ptc can prove -- can replace it with crew member because he does not do what the man would do. the majority will be prevented but not all. >> miss feinberg. billions of dollars in the cost. ms. feinberg: i would differ to amtrak and the actual cost. they have predicted it. how far they have to go to complete it. >> i am sorry, i did not hear the base question. >> you said that ptc is not implemented in all of the points? mr. boardman: it is installed
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but it is not activated. $100 million is where it is at the moment. >> thank you, my time has expired. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to the witnesses today. i know there are still a lot of facts and many more questions we have to examine you for we get some real answers. there are some things i want to follow up on. on may 12, my understanding mr. peters, is the engineer who was operating was doing so under a new controversial work schedule that began on march 23 of 2015. that included shorter turnaround times on most runs that happened before march 23.
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i guess i am just curious as to whether the union or the workers had been consulted prior to the implementation of this new work schedule. >> yes, the unions are in discussions with amtrak about the scheduling of the workers on the assignments that you are talking about. the assignments as they are in place today, do not of violet federal hours of service. they are not restricted by the current contract language. it is something parties work out between themselves -- it is the best way to assign the jobs. our representatives in amtrak are the ones who are involved in those talks. >> did you express concern to amtrak about the schedules or about the inclusion of the new schedules in the new modeling? mr. pierce: i know our representatives have shared concern about the scheduling.
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ms. norton: do you think the concerns eu expressed about including the demands on scheduling issues and impact the workers have been appropriately included within the new work requirement? mr. pierce: i don't think the process has been completed yet. i know the parties are discussing it now as to the appropriate assignment and what the rest time should be between runs. ms. norton: mr. boardman, can you describe for us, if you could, how you incorporate the teak as an element in the modeling when it goes into the work schedule? mr. boardman: i cannot. mr. pierce: you do not incorporate it? mr. boardman: i cannot describe it. i know in this particular run at
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there were no changes. it was the same schedule. ms. norton: when developing the model, what do they do to incorporate worker fatigue when generating the model? mr. boardman: we ensure that eb employees have significant rest. but having a mathematical model that is different i am not sure i understand. ms. norton: mr. hart, when you examine the number of things that may have gone wrong how do you look at fatigue and how do you look at the modeling for work schedules? mr. hart: we look and dig deeper at what kinds of programs the employer has that will result in the 72 hour passes for this
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employee. we start with a 72 hour history. ms. norton: has the fra engaged in a process that implements previous renditions from the ntsb? ms. feinberg: we have done work on fatigue and generally for quite some time are now in the work of developing a comprehensive review that will address the take? . >> we have done this when there has been a transit accidents. when recommendations come from the ntsb, how do you decide if it is not a requirement? how does the fra decide if it is going to implement them? it seems to me that some of these recommendations remain on a list until there is an accident. ms. feinberg: i wish it were as easy as just implementing the
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recommendations. it does not work that way. we will have to go into an emergency order that will not stand up in court. generally, a lot of times we have two and her into a rulemaking that takes years. we make recommendations that chairman hart does not agree with. my predecessors right back and forth to one another and the staff works together to see if we can come together on it. i think when i arrived we had 72 outstanding ntsb recommendations. i have said it is one of my top priorities to clear the deck. we are down to 63. we worked to clear this every week. >> thank you. >> among other things, and there are members who would defund
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on amtrak generally. this accident pointed out the importance of amtrak in ways that we should observe. i think mr. boardman, maybe you can speak to that. the transportation of goods and people has a system. what we noticed in those days, i thought very quickly, was a pressure on highways on aviation. a tremendous increase in some of those tickets. an increase in the difficulties on the highway. i was wondering if anyone would like to speak to that anecdotally? >> i believe you are right. mr. boardman: i believe people understood and alexa lee at
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first. shutting down the railroad would cause a major economic blip for people who want to get to work or those need to do business or conduct their work in that particular part of the railroad. and then, i think they understood it after a week much more emotionally and in their pocketbook. the problems that occurred in that. of time made it clear. their personal economy had suffered and the mobility and the business community had suffered and was suffering from the increase in the number of cars on the highway and the inability to even find a seat on aviation. >> i heard tickets or over $2000 from new york to d.c..
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mr. boardman: i heard some reports where yes, they were high levels. the last seat is always more expensive because of the way the price their services. it is definitely a problem. ms. feinberg: if i am remembering the numbers correctly, i think it is a $100 million a day entity. need time to shut down, it has a dramatic impact. that is why we are talking about the importance of making sure the northeast corridor is in a state of good repair. >> we have concluded here that it is not in a state of good repair. there is one bridge that is over 100 years old. the plans are done. it could be built if it were
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funded. that is a point in the system that could virtually wreck everything for a long, long time. the $100 million a day in a week would be 700 million -- whatever. ms. feinberg: there are multiple checkpoints like that. >> do you know others? ms. feinberg: the baltimore tunnel. it just depends on where. there are multiple checkpoints like that will stop >> you and mr. pierce had various disagreements. i can understand both points of view. i would like to give you a moment to explain yours a little bit more thoroughly. you clearly have a difference of opinion over privacy. mr. pierce: the more we know
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about what caused the crash, the more we can do to prevent it from happening again. that is the additional information we get from video and audio sources. we can be more specific about our recommendations. >> would you say is a public servant and public employee that is not too much to ask? >> we have been asked to improve safety and that is one of the ways we are trying to do that. >> i think our position on cameras has been somewhat misrepresented. the problem we have with those is there is no governing of them. they are implement it without consultation from the labor unions or from the people who are being filmed. >> you think there is a way to do this that could accommodate everyone. >> we have met individually with all of the class one freight
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railroads. we have not satisfied our goal yet. >> my time has expired. thank you, chairman. >> thank you mr. chairman. one of the great things about being at the end of the questioning is being able to get to hear all of the ideas. this is what i have heard so far from the suggestions. cameras, seatbelts. modernizing the cars, more employees, more training, better infrastructure, positive train control. i know and i enjoy hearing my
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colleagues. i'm extending sympathies to those who lost loved ones. and those who are injured as well. many back home are very angry. they want to know why we do not do more. i think it is pretty obvious. we give billions of dollars in figures every time one of these suggestions is mentioned. i think, from a practical point of view, what do each of you recommend as the best way to proceed that will keep train travel affordable and recognizing that this congress has put a sequester on itself? >> humans make mistakes. that is fundamental. engineers are a good group of people who try to do the right thing. they make mistakes because they are humans. that is not criticism, that is a fact. that is why positive train
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control is the most important backup to respond to human error. >> stay on the positive train control for a moment. i believe he will be done on the northeast quarter by the end of the year. that's will continue the leap and safety for the northeast corridor and positive train control -- it should be done by this generation of railroaders. in terms of the infrastructure on the northeast corridor, it is no different than what is happening to the interstate highway system and to our aviation system. we, as a nation, must begin to make in the reinvestment. even if we have to make other ways to do it with third parties or private financing. it has to occur for the future, or our economy will begin to suffer. that needs to happen. >> in terms of human factors
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positive train control is a huge factor. fatigue management is also a very important issue. >> i think positive train control -- the only thing on the train that is not a machine is the human. this comes down to a discussion over what level of risk we are willing to take as a nation and how we would fund avoiding that risk. >> whoever wants to answer this question, for the public purses, can you explain why? what is the difficulty in getting positive train control? it is the cost? is it the technology, where the biggest obstacles? >> for amtrak it has been
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getting the spectrum of radio that we really need to ensure the reliability for a system that needs to be vital and failsafe. that has been the holdup. we have moved with the fcc. we will get this done by the deadline. ms. norton: do you believe that the fcc has been responsive enough? or could they be more helpful? mr. boardman: they have been responsive in the last few weeks. ms. frankel: how long have you been trying to push this through? mr. boardman: the private sector, to buy the spectrum. >> funding is an issue.
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spectrum is an issue. it is a couple get a technology and requires a back office. it requires the spectrum transponders. it is a complicated technology and it takes time. the fra requires the railroads to submit a safety of planets we can go over the plan and make changes so we can work together to get it to a place where we can implement it. we received one safety plan from a railroad and it was over 5000 pages long. it was appropriately long. it is a massive undertaking. we were able to get back to that railroad and provide them with feedback so they can move forward and starts to implement. it is certainly complicated. >> thank you very much. >> ms. frankel and before i
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recognize mr. ice -- mr.rice we have others waiting in line. it is quickly approaching 12:00. if there are members who would like to submit their questions in writing, we would be happy to accommodate them. you are recognized. mr.rice: did you just ask members who want to submit their members to do so in writing? >> there is no -- we are not dictating what the committee will adjourn. we are just saying if there are members who would like to, by choice, enter in a questions by writing, we will accommodate them. mr.rice: thank you, mr. chairman. let's start with mr. hart.
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we spoke about a number of safety measures. some are more expensive than some are cheaper. we spoke about the positive train control and we spoke about adding seatbelts and bulking up the seats. between those, which would be the cheapest to implement? mr. hart: we do not get into the cost of implementation. we just look at what will most effectively improve safety. mr.riec: which do you think would be the cheapest among those three? mr. boardman: for us, because we already got the positive train control moving forward, it is not the expense of this point in time. we do not think that the inward facing cameras are an outrageous cost either. >> why are the inward facing
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cameras improving safety? they are just taking a picture. mr. boardman: we can use them for efficiency testing. we can see what is going on with the engineered itself. >> do you think they will change the behavior of the engineer? mr. boardman: we have a pilot program where there is much less stress on what the engineers thoughts are. it has really helped out the situation, regarding stress. >> which would be the cheapest implement, do you think? >> the most inexpensive would be inward facing cameras. we are moving forward with those. >> mr. peters, which do you think will be the cheapest? mr. pierce: i think the jury is out on inward facing cameras.
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the technology failed in several collisions. the data was not available. it did not provide the post accident testing it was supposedly provided for. >> it has been recommended, it has been suggested. why do we not have those now? ms. feinberg: we do have those. >> why do we not have them on all of the trains? ms. feinberg: some chose not to implement the inward facing cameras. >> some have chosen not to? what have we not been mandated >>? ms. feinberg: the issue has really been for us to mandate them? . >> i do not have the answer to the mandate.
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we've been supporting that it occur. >> why haven't you required it? it would be very inexpensive to put a camera? >> i have required it at this point. the decision is we are doing it. >> why hasn't it been required until now? >> because i did not make the decision myself to do that. we have been supporting the raf safety advisory committee and discussing how this -- >> who would have argued against putting in inward facing cameras? >> a lot has to do with how the data is going to be used, and whether it's going to be appropriately used. >> you know, is it privacy issues with engineers? is that one of the issues? >> i would have to litet the engineers answer that. >> mr. pierce? mr. pierce: it's not only a privacy issue, as mr. boardman said, it's the way the cameras are utilized and how they're implemented. there are no safeguards? >> safeguards. all it's doing is taking a picture. what do you mean safeguard? why wouldn't that have inward facing cameras? a cheap way to increase safety? mr. pierce: you're suggesting
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that we're going to change behavior, and that suggests there's intentional bad behavior, and i would argue that's inappropriate or not an accurate representation. the bottom line is -- >> we had -- we've had proven cases of bad behavior. two years ago there was a driver who said he fell asleep, i believe. going into a curve. and people were killed. we don't know what happened in this case. mr. pierce: i don't consider fatigue bad behavior congressman. mr. rice: i would think if they're on camera, they might be a little more aware of their surroundings. mr. pierce: i do not think a camera will cure fatigue. it will not make you less tired. mr. rice: i suspect that it will -- would be a great increase in safety in terms of change behavior. i want to ask one more question. mr. hart, you said you were looking at phone data the last three weeks, complicated by changes in time zones. how many time zones do you cross in philadelphia on this line? >> mr. hart, i would ask for a quick response.
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mr. hart: the time zones we're talking about is in the phone system. it's a california based carrier california numbsers in. mr. rice: thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. miss brownlee? ms. brownlee: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. boardman, i wanted to ask -- i feel pretty confident based on you testimony that at least for the northeast corridor that you're going to be able to complete pdc in a timely way by 2015. i wanted to know whether you believe we have the resources and technology for amtrak at least to complete ptc across the country by 2015? mr. boardman: well, amtrak doesn't have the responsibility to actually implement the ptc across the country on host railroads, for the most part. there have been a couple of class three railroads that believe, one in kansas city, and
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the other in st. louis, that believe we need to be the ones to implement positive train controls in those communities, and the rest of it is primarily the class one railroads, and our part would be to implement it in the locomotives. and we'll be ready, we believe, when we have their positive train control available. ms. brownlee: so amtrak in california, for example, you're saying you're not responsible for ptc there? mr. boardman yeah: if it is not our line -- ms. brownlee: if it's not our -- ok, ms. feinberg, in terms of implementation are there penalties imposed for railroads that have not met the ptc recommendation. ms. feinberg: we're having an internal conversation at fra on how to go against the deadline. ms. brownlee: how will you complete the task and the public would know? ms. feinberg: in the coming
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weeks i would say. ms. brownlee: in the coming weeks. i also wanted to follow up with you just in terms of your opinion in lieu of full implementation of ptc. do you think two-person crews is something that would be an appropriate safety net for the short term? doesn't sound there's going to be full implementation by 2015 certainly the airlines have two crew members. do you think that's something that is -- could be a short term or interim safeguard? ms. feinberg: certainly that is one of the things we're taking a close look at and we believe could be an interim solution along with probably additional backstops as well. and there are some places where that two-person -- to people in the cab may not be possible but you could have additional folks on the train communicating back and forth to each other.
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>> why would two people in a cab may not be possible in some instances? ms. feinberg: not enough room. >> mr. hart, also the same question to you, do you believe that a two-person crew might be an interim solution before ptc is fully implemented? mr. hart: it would be based on experience, we don't find two person crews are an improvement over single person crews. >> why is that? it seems common sense if you have another two people driving a train, that if one person falls asleep, then the other person is there to take over. mr. hart: in theory that's true but two people can fall asleep and be distracted we're not finding from experience and it is limited because we don't have that much two-person crews. based on the limited experience we're not finding two-person
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crews to be a safety improvement over single person crews. >> thank you, sir. i'll yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, thank you. it's my understanding you would like me to yield some time to you. >> thank you. just one quick question for ms. feinberg, safety is important across the entire country and my home state of california, ptc is slow to be implemented as well. 3.7 billion was put to california high speed rail. that money has been transferred to the cal train, to electrify cal train, $400 million of that to help implement the trans bay terminal. why are we not transferring money to do ptc on the connector routes in california? ms. feinberg: if you're asking specifically if we would transfer money from the high speed rail authority into ptc?
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>> you're using stimulus dollars in many different places in california for electric fiction and changing the terminal but not using it for ptc, which it's my understanding high speed rail will need ptc and connector routes should have ptc already. why are we not using money that will revert back to the federal government next year if it's not spent? why are we not using it for ptc in california? ms. feinberg: it will be going to ptc in california. most of our money that has gone out, $600 million has gone towards ptc. >> you haven't been able to spend it quick enough in california? >> no, i believe it will get spent on time by the end of the year. >> just for the record, we're spending california high speed rail dollars on many different areas in california to do other things other things, far behind
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on ptc and it is not been a big enough priority to use those stimulus dollars on ptc in california. >> sir, if you're asking if we can take stimulus dollars that is going to high speed rail and transfer to ptc, i don't believe that would be in keeping with grant agreement but we can take a look at it and come back with a formal response. >> thank you, mr. perry. >> reclaiming my time, ms. feinberg, there's been an implication made in this committee that congress itself and maybe certain individuals, certain party are responsible financially for the mishappen in philadelphia. i want to get the facts straight. it's my understanding as well fra stated that a lack of public sector funding may cause
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unwanted delays in fully implementing ptc. and it also according to my records would cost $131.2 million. $131.2 million to fully implement positive train control on the northeast corridor, the track that amtrak owns. now over 12 years they lost billion dollars in food service and inspector general's opinion that amtrak paid large bonuses to ineligible management and staff. the 31 million amtrak -- were sub sid sized to $250 a piece and this particular portion of line makes anywhere from 400 to $500 million a year. it seems to me plus we give amtrak to the tune of 1.3 to whatever 2.something billion dollars a year, how come they
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can't spend 10% of what they lost on positive train control and is it congress's fault -- is it fra's assertion that it's congress's fault that ptc wasn't funded in the northeast corridor? >> on amtrak, they said they will implement ptc by the congressionally mandated deadline of to2015 and we agree they can meet that deadline. >> it's not a funding issue? >> amtrak does not have a funding issue in terms of ptc. they have said they will meet the deadline. >> amtrak -- just to be clear, amtrak does not have a funding issue with ptc by the deadline it's not congress's fault it's not implemented timely, correct or not correct?
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>> amtrak specifically has said they will meet the deadline. we have had many conversations about the need for our request of the congress to give additional assistance to commuter railroads to meet the deadline. we've also requested additional assistance for amtrak to meet the deadline. >> one last question, mr. chairman, before i came here, i think about 2009, $800 billion of stimulus passed and majority to go to infrastructure. if it was so much was concern, how much was spent understanding 131.2 million, a very small percentage, if you look at that, would be required to fully implement ptc in the northeast corridor, how much was spent allocated by this congress, how much was spent if it's such a priority? >> we'll have to get back to you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back.
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>> ms. brown you are recognized for five minutes. ms. brown: as former member of the strong supporter of rail, my heart goes out to family and individuals who suffered in the wake of amtrak train derailment that occurred recently in philadelphia. i personally want to thank today's panelist for the hard work and dedication and employees. i want to particularly thank you for your leadership but my question -- i know you all monitor the trains and rates of the speed. can you discuss what safeguards that you have in place to check speed of locomotives and engineers? >> yes, ma'am, we have a regular series and i don't think you were here earlier when i said we looked check the speed -- we've
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had 16,000 checks of speed since january 1st of '14. we do that radar and downloading the equipment in the lowcomotive to find out what speed they are traveling. ms. brown: i was here the entire time. i wanted you to repeat it again. mr. boardman: thank you. ms. brown: positive train control, that is one of the most important aspects of safety and what we talked about the cars itself. and we talked about the crew. it's the combination. can expound on that a little bit? mr. boardman: certainly. positive train control is a system that's layered on top of several systems we operate today, one being positive train control. every time there's a temporary speed change, we use a manual system because the dispatcher
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and the engineer has to write down what has occurred here. we use from the manual system up to a positive train control system in order to ensure that we operate safely and do run a safe railroad. ms. brown: mr. hart, other than positive train control and the facing cameras, what are some other safety measures you think we need to put in place? mr. hart: thank you for the question. we've heard questions about fatigue and we are looking into that. the state of good repair, we always are looking at that. we're looking at the totality of circumstances, the best situation is for the train to stay on the track in the first place. we want to provide survivability for passengers if it doesn't stay on the track. ms. brown: ms. feinberg, you all
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acted quickly and i want to thank you all for that. do you think there's additional training that the employees need? ms. feinberg: that is something we're taking a look at now. when i referred to the potential -- the package we're putting together that would address potential human factors, that's something we'll take a close look at. ms. brown: mr. pierce, what are in your concerns about the training of employees for a disaster i want to commend that the employees did an excellent job. i was being -- it was being monitored and started to get calls as soon as it happened and i want to thank you for that. what additional training do you think the employees need for disaster?
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i think the training that the employees receive is in large part the normal operations type training, disaster training is obviously something that we don't hope we'll ever have to experience. i'm not sure exactly to what extent the difference is as to how much actual accident type training that the employees are receiving on amtrak right now. i have to defer to mr. boardman on that one. mr. boardman: so what amtrak does today as emergency management system, we're working in concert with first responders up and down the corridor and across the country with police departments and have an incident command structure that was a requirement in the we have a family assistance program and work with the ntsb to stand that up properly, we depend on those first responders in the community such as -- and i talked about it earlier, philadelphia in this particular case. but we have an ongoing good relationship to make sure we have the proper drills across the country. ms. brown: my time is running out, with a i would like from each of the members in writing what are some of the infrastructure projects that we need in the northeast corridor
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like the baltimore terminals and other things to make sure that we are -- we in congress are doing what we need to do because when my colleagues trying to imply that money is not an issue, money is an issue. and some of the tunnels and we went up on the train and we talked to people along the way. we know that there are many tunnels and infrastructure conditions that need to be upgraded. >> i ask for a response. mr. boardman: we will provide that list for you. >> thank you. mr. rokita -- >> [indiscernible]
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>> we'll provide the questions in writing but ask for a response on infrastructure needs from each of you, thank you. mr. rokita, you are recognized for five minutes. mr. rokita: i thank the chair and witnesses for their testimony this morning. following up on questions that might have already been asked, i want to ask you about what seems to be in your testimony a right to privacy. in the locomotive -- is that the position of the brotherhood or not? >> i didn't say right to privacy. there are privacy concerns about the storage of data. i don't think anyone wants to see their last minutes if they are killed in a locomotive collision to be floating around on youtube to be honest with you. there are steps that need to be taken to make sure that the data is protected and the data is used for what everybody seems to think it is used for which is post accident testing.
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mr. rokita: it seems that's covered and other modes of transportation and industry. >> to date it has not been worked out. there is no regulation fra has started the rule making process on cameras but until there's regulation, the railroads are running programs, each one independent of the other and the data storage is something that's different on every railroad. mr. rokita: right, but however gruesome the photo or whatever the situation might be or whatever goes on youtube, when you're on the job you would agree there's a right to privacy? >> you're kind of putting words in my mouth. our concerns are many -- it's a yes or no question. you might have answered already. you don't agree there's a right to privacy, is that correct. >> i don't see it as a yes or no answer. mr. rokita: there is a right to privacy? >> there should be a reasonable
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installation of cameras and have not been afforded that opportunity yet. mr. rokita: do airline pilots have a right to privacy in anything recorded on the black box or anything in the atc communications or anything like that? >> it's my understanding faa made a presentation to the group about the model that the airline industry uses and we have -- that was at our recommendation because we would embrace that. it is not been offered to us. mr. rokita: ok, but you would embrace it if that was the case. >> yes. mr. rokita: following up on congressman perry's line of questioning on the $800 billion spent on stimulus projects or other things regarding -- i'm sorry, a head in the way. do you have any experience or recollection or numbers to give us regarding how much of the $800 billion was spent on ptc on your railroad? mr. boardman: 800 billion?
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mr. rokita: yeah, part of the stimulus package. any of the money or any of the subsidized money that was given -- mr. boardman: 800 billion is not a number that rings with me, of course, amtrak would love to have $800 billion, don't get me wrong but -- mr. rokita: any stimulus funds whatsoever, how much was spent on ptc in your estimation? mr. boardman: we did not spend any stimulus money on ptc per se unless there was some particular part of another project. mr. rokita: why not? mr. boardman: because that wasn't what it was used for. it was looking for real investment in the bridge, for example, and also rebuilding a whole session of the railroad. mr. rokita: was there a legal prohibition? was there a legal prohibition in your experience against using stimulus funds? mr. boardman: they were looking for infrastructure projects --
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mr. rokita: was there a legal prohibition, do you know? mr. boardman i don't know. :mr. rokita: mr. feinberg, can you add anything to that? do you think there's a legal prohibition against using stimulus funds for ptc? ms. feinberg: i'm sorry, i don't think there's a legal prohibition against -- i don't think so. mr. rokita: why do you think we didn't use funds for ptc if that's the case? or do you have any estimation of the amount of stimulus funds that might have been used? ms. feinberg: to take all of the stimulus dollars and give it to amtrak and class one to implement ptc, i'm not sure that is something that occurred to anyone. i don't think it was even discussed. mr. rokita: really? it's being discussed like it's a no brainer high priority that has been wanting to be done for decades since 1969. this never occurred to anyone? ms. feinberg: by the deadline we're approaching now, i do not
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know if it was a subject that you all discussed. mr. rokita: i'm asking if you discussed it. if anyone in the industry, the regulator all testifying here today that this was such an important provision who's concept came become in 1969 i think is what ranking member defazio stated. in all of that interim time and having the stimulus money, no one thought to use that money for ptc? my question is, if so, how much was used for ptc? >> we would ask for a quick response but this is another one we would ask in writing for all of the stimulus dollars. mr. rokita: mr. chairman, if you can get a date from the witnesses when they can respond. >> absolutely, we'll get that final testimony -- mr. rokita: if we can get it on the record, that would be great. >> ms. feinberg? ms. feinberg: we're happy to get
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that to you all. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. boardman, the $800 billion of stimulus funds, isn't it true amtrak got $1.1 billion total? mr. boardman: i'm sorry, sir? >> of the $800 billion stimulus funds, $240 billion was tax cuts not spending, isn't it true amtrak was allocated $1.1 billion not $800 billion? >> i think it was 1.4. 1.3. >> 1.3. and the total cost of -- that was basically congress instructed you to spend that on projects that were ready to go as fast as possible, infrastructure projects, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> and you spent it on what in broad terms? mr. boardman: night an tick river bridge and some additional infrastructure -- >> infrastructure bridges and so forth, which i assume had you
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not spent on those it would have been safety problems? mr. boardman: yes. >> so the basic -- ok, thank you. amtrak has requested for fiscal year 2016, now does this go beyond finishing the implementation of ptc by the end of this calendar year? mr. boardman: yes, it is off the northeast corridor. this isn't on the spine of the corridor. that will be done by the end of december. but we have other work we need to get done. mr. nadler: would it have been done sooner if they had more funds. mr. boardman: if they had come a while ago but not now. mr. nats are: -- mr. nadler: two or three years ago it could have i am plimt plemted? mr. boardman: we had a dependable amount of money to
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move forward, yes. mr. nadler: to switch topics for a moment, the tunnels into new york have been described as ticking time bombs because of damage from salt water during hurricane sandy. what's the stalt us of those tunnels? how much funding is necessary to prevent that from happening. mr. boardman: we found out this winter what would happen if they went out of service we had so much ice, regular ice patrols had to knock down the ice in one of the tubes. when that happened you went from being able to move 24 trains an hour down to 6 trains an hour. so we got a lot of complaints from new jersey transit and from amtrak riders that they had to wait outside one of the tubes in order to get into new york city. that's exactly what -- mr. nadler: going from 24 trains an hour to 6 trains an hour is the only rail access into new york city from new jersey would have a significant effect on the economy? mr. boardman: absolutely. ms.r. nadler: can you quantify
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that at all? mr. boardman: i will for you. i'll get back to you with that answer. i understand that amtrak is a $21 billion backlog of projects on the northeast corridor. is that arc rat? >> that's what the commission developed and produced, yes. >> do you have any source of funding for the $21 billion? >> no more so than what we get each year. >> how much is in the budget that the house just passed? mr. boardman: 1.39 was what we had last year. mr. nadler: that's the total, that's not just for projects -- >> not just the projects -- mr. nadler: $21 billion necessary to get to a state of good repair in the northeast corridor, how much was appropriated for that purpose or available for that purpose from the amount of funds voted by the house a couple weeks ago. mr. boardman: it was some dollars specifically identified for advancing our gateway system but not capital dollars for us to actually build it. mr. nadler: no capital dollars at all. so zero of the 21. that's a pretty good ratio.
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now, we've heard that amtrak will have ptc, positive train control in place on the spine and what's the status of ptc implementation on other commuter rails and what will it take for commuter lines to meet the deadline? ms. feinberg: they are struggling, very much struggling to meet the deadline. we just completed a loan to the mta for almost a billion dollars to assist with their ptc implementation. that will go beyond the deadline. mr. nadler: do we have any estimate as to when the commuter rails across the country are likely to be able to implement ptc? ms. feinberg: it varies dramatically, anywhere from 16 to 18 to 20. mr. nadler: in other words a year to two to four years after the deadline, we know the possible safety repercussions.
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let me just say that the transportation appropriations bill includes no money for commuter lines such as metro north to install ptc. amtrak funds this out of federal capital grants which are cut by $290 million. despite the fact there's a $21 billion backlog to achiefly a state of good repair, we spend about $50 billion on highways and about $16 billion on $17 billion on aviation. and $1.2 billion on rail. there's something very wrong with the appropriations process and for us to sit here and not understand that the fact that congress has been starving amtrak has a large role to play in what we're talking about is putting our heads in the sand. >> mr. costello. mr. costello: thank you, mr. chairman. let me start with ms. feinberg.
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i want to thank you for your time and attention the day following the tragedy when we went and visited the site. my question to you relates to 49 cfr part 220, restrictions on railroad operating use of cellular telephones and other electronic devices, the final rule in which the secretary essentially delegated to you, do you exercise the authority and prohibit the use of personal electronic devices that may disinstruct employees from safely performing their duties. the study found railroad operating employees were increasingly using distracting devices in a matter that created hazards. i'm going from the federal reg star dated monday 2010. i found this part particularly interesting. relating to access to employee's personal cell phone records, fra has decided that a provision
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mandating that railroads require operating employees to provide access to personal cell phone records in the event of an accident is unnecessary for fra purposes. instead, fra currently uses its investigative authority to obtain personal cell phone records when appropriate. is that what you're doing now? through your investigative arm not in -- that's how you're getting the personal cell phone records? ms. feinberg: that's correct, following accident we subpoenaed those records. mr. costello: and in looking at -- inward looking cameras, if you had inward looking cameras would the operating engineer at that point in time you would be able to ascertain whether or not a personal cell phone was being used, correct? ms. feinberg: that's one of the purposes. mr. costello: is there concerns that without the inward facing camera there, i did also go
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through this rule in detail. there are times throughout the ride when it would be a legitimate -- operating engineer would legitimately be able to look at their cell phone? ms. feinberg: the regulation is that the phone should be off and stored. mr. costello: should be, right. ok. if we had an inward facing camera, we would know already if that were the case? ms. feinberg: yes, the inward facing camera would also provide us information after an accident, which would be useful. we wouldn't even be needing to have this debate at the moment. mr. costello: my question next turns to mr. pierce. i understand that you were -- i think making a distinction between privacy concerns and right to privacy, i sort of intu ited it from your testimony and questions you were answering. can you talk more about this reasonable implementation because i'm a little concerned
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when we're talking about the privacy concerns of an individual operating engineer who would be taped while in the performance of their duties because essentially you have to balance that against the public safety considerations of the 200 or 300 plus passengers who are in the train. i think a lot of us are concerned that your testimony seems to suggest that we need to really focus on the privacy concerns of the operating engineer and not some of the public safety assurances and some of the information that would be elicited if you had the inward facing cameras moving forward. so i want to give you an opportunity to sort of share with me a little bit more -- share with us a little bit more about what it is about these privacy concerns that you hold so dear on behalf of your membership? mr. pierce: thank you, i do want to first comment about the comments made earlier about litigation when cameras started.
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the unions didn't go to court to block cameras. they took us to court to install them. the record needs to be clear on who actually started the litigation effort to install cameras. cameras so far have been on freight railroads on class one properties. they run 24/7, whether the train is moving or stopped and we have crew members that can sit on a train up to six hours without moving. we've asked the railroad shut the camera off if there's no safety sensitive duties being performed and -- mr. costello: what about about -- mr. pierce: right now they run 24/7. the parts we have taken exception to, i'm trying to identify, we haven't said that there should be an outright prohibition, we said that the implementation has been done in a way there are disputes over it. mr. costello: do you believe there's a sound public policy in favor of having an inward facing camera on the operating engineer at all times during the moving of the passenger rail?
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mr. pierce: i know that's where the industry is headed -- mr. costello: that could be a yes or no answer. mr. pierce: just so you know all of the activities of the engineer are already recorded on an event recorder through the technology of the control stand. all we get is a picture of what he does. we already know with the exception of the cell phone use what he does. >> my time is up. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, just to round out the point on funding -- well, first of all, ms. feinberg, congratulations on being named the future administrator. i want to point out throughout this process my time with the committee you've been exceptionally responsive and incredibly hopeful to us in so many ways and i'm excited to see you're going to be continuing in this role. on the point on funding, the point is in the grow america act you included $800 million for commuter rail systems to help them speed up the implementation
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of ptc, correct? ms. feinberg: correct. mr. maloney: we're not just worried about amtrak, but all types of commuter systems that can't do this on time? >> correct. >> amtrak is the only one who has their act together on this, right? ms. feinberg: they are the only one that has their act together and metro link is also in good shape and seta is i am pretsive. mr. maloney: one of the great tragedies about the accident amtrak is in the best position of all of the major rail systems we're concerned about to implement this life saving technology and there are real and important questions about what happened here and why. but among them is not some issue of amtrak lagging behind other systems in its implementation ptc. ms. feinberg: that's correct, ahead of everyone else. mr. maloney: isn't it therefore beside the point to talk about what amtrak keeps doing with respect to the federal funding the point is that the federal funding is absolutely critical for the other systems like metro north, we know it would have been prevented by ptc.
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i want to thank you again for approving a billion dollar, $960 million loan to get metro north moving faster with the installation of ptc. you worked with this closely on my legislation, including the passenger rail bill with the assistance of mr. dunham and others to make explicitly clear that funding is available for all systems because money is the issue, right? ms. feinberg: correct. mr. maloney: and of all of the people who ought to be apologizing for these accidents that keep happening because we don't have the safety systems in place, the united states congress maybe ought to be at the top of the list, wouldn't that be fair to say? ms. feinberg: i think that would be fair to say. mr. maloney: and i think when mr. boardman comes in here, who's clearly heart sick over this episode and doing everything he can and it will meet this deadline and expresses his heart felt regret, it might be nice somebody on this committee express the heart felt
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regret for united states congress not having its act together in this area and so many others. isn't that fair to say? >> yes. mr. maloney: thank you. and we've got 30 accidents and 69 deaths and 1200 injuries and this is the first one on amtrak because we haven't had one on amtrak in a quarter century. ms. feinberg: that's right. mr. maloney: where the funding is most needed where most of the deaths and injuries are occurring. ms. feinberg: that's right. mr. maloney: thank you. so much for whether funding matters for safety. i have a couple of specific questions, mr. boardman. maybe you can help me out. northbound trains approach at 80 miles an hour at this junction and southbound at 110 miles an hour. they install the system where they knew they had to slow down to get to the derailment speed of 98 on the southbound side. isn't it a fact that the required speed through the corner 45 miles per hour when you slow down, you don't just
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slow down to a speed equal to or less than the derailment speed you go down about half of it right? >> go down to 50-mile-per-hour speed for a safety measure from the 98. mr. maloney: can you help me understand if that's the case the recommended speed going northbound even though the approach is below the derailment speed, it's not recommended that you take it at 80, right? >> we've been going around that corner since the '30s in the same construct is there without -- >> at what speed should an engineer take that? >> 50 miles an hour. >> northbound. 50. it was just an oversight not to put the atc system there to force the reduction in speed to 50? mr. boardman: no, what had happened because of the back bay incident, the entire community of safety folks, along with regulator looked at what was reasonable for us as an industry to do. what was reason was was to make sure we put in six locations a co-change, only down to 45 miles
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an hour and that was where ufrp approaching at a speed that would overturn the train in the corridor. mr. maloney: i see. that's what we're working on now. we'll close that gap. last question and couple of seconds left. mr. hart, can you tell us again in plain english why we don't know whether this operator was on the phone three weeks after the accident? you said it was a time zone issue? can't we just get the records? wouldn't we know whether he was on the phone? mr. hart: the engineer was very cooperative and gave us the password to his cell phone. we have all of that, we found more and more complicated issues relating to the fact that the text is on one time zone and calls on the other, it is far more my complicate d than anyone imagined. mr. maloney: but we will be able to determine whether the phone was being operated at the time
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of the accident? mr. hart: yes, you can coordinate that with the number of different time sources to verify the accuracy. it's crucial to get that right. mr. maloney: thank you, sir, for the extraordinary work your agency does, i've seen it up close and it's real extraordinary how professional and efficient you are. >> thank you. ms. comstock: thank you, mr. chairman, i want to follow up on that. after three weeks i'm very frustrated we don't have a time line today in any way, shape or form into the limit d extent we have one indicates the train depart at 9:10 and crash is at 9:21. in terms of the phone records to follow up on that, since the requirements say it should be turned off and stored, do we know if the phone was turned off and stored during that 9:10 time frame.
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mr. hart: we know there was use of the phone on that day, may 12 -- we don't know -- that's what we're trying to narrow down to get specifics of your question. ms. comstock: i just texted back my daughter, yes, the babysitter on friday. that's on my phone now. if it was in california phone it might say 8:42 then figure it out. three weeks ago, why can't we take those 11 minutes and have a time line for the victims and their families to have that type of information? i don't understand what the hold up is. mr. hart: we had no idea it would be this complicated when we started down this path either. it's been far more complicated than any of us anticipated to not only get the records but verify -- ms. comstock: was the device turned off? >> we don't -- ms. comstock: if the device was turned off you could not have used it between 9:10 and 9:21. mr. hart: one of the things we'll determine in the time line is when was the device turned on
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and off. ms. comstock: given the three hours in california, your time line would have certain limits. if you had to use the phone within certain hours, you would know whether it's possible or not -- like if my phone said 8:42, then you would know there's an issue. if it said 7:42, you would know it's not possible. i'm trying to understand why this is so my indicated. mr. hart: we found discrepancies within the carrier's own time systems where it didn't even agree with itself. we've got a lot to work out -- ms. comstock: how much would it cost us to not allow an engineer to have a phone in the cabin? mr. hart: i couldn't speak to that. ms. comstock: would it cost anything? my understanding is the regulations have the railroads can implement their own more stringent rules. why can't we say today, you're not allowed to have devices in the cabin,. ?
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why can't we do that today? mr. hart: i would defer on that question the ms. feinberg. ms. feinberg: railroads can put that into place. ms. comstock: that would not be a cost issue? >> i don't think so. ms. comstock: you would feel comfortable we wouldn't three weeks later whether someone had a device and using it. mr. hart: it would make our investigation easier if we didn't have to look into it but we do -- ms. comstock: if we implemented a policy that said don't have devices in there period, in you need to use a device, you step out of the cabin, use it when you're stopped but it cannot physically go in there. is there an issue about -- why isn't that done? mr. hart: again, i have to defer to the regulators on that. ms. comstock: does anyone think there would be a cost related to removing personal devices from the cabin? >> use of the devices is already
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prohibited. you're talking been an additional prohibition that the ntsb would investigate compliance with that prohibition. ms. comstock: what kind of compliance issues are there? what kind of spotchecks are there to know whether someone is using their phone or texting during their time in the cabin? >> certain locomotives are equipped with cell phone detection -- ms. comstock: did this cabin have that? >> i don't know the answer to that at this point. ms. comstock: it seems like the no cost safety solution here is today to say don't bring them in. mr. hart: what's detectible is the signal in and out and what's not, was somebody manipulating the phone but not sending -- ms. comstock: you did find -- the cell phone was in the cabin that day? mr. hart: yes. ms. comstock: and was it turned
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off or not? >> do not know the answer to that. ms. comstock: does anybody know whether it was turned on or off? how can we not know that at this point? that's the regulation. if it was on, that was a regulation by -- >> i don't know if that's known. i don't know it at this moment. ms. comstock: anybody here with the witnesses today know that? ms. feinberg: i would say that as the ntsb leads the investigation, we partner and do our own investigation. there has not been a concern that we wont figure it out. it's a little complicated. ms. comstock: this is something so easy to find out quickly, then we could know -- this action could have been taken the day after. until we know, we know there was a cell phone in there, why don't we just say you're not going to bring your cell phone in the cabin anymore. unless someone can tell me a safety concern -- my grandfather worked in the railroads for 40 years without a cell phone. i'm trying to figure out is
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there a cell phone issue here that you need to have it in the cabin for safety purposes? >> the gentlelady's time expired. we will present -- ms. comstock [indiscernible] >> turn up her microphone. mr. hart: we will develop a very precise time line. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank all of our panelists today for your hard work. as a representative from connecticut, i have to say that
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the folks i represent are concerned. and we're talking about thousands of people in my district who ride the lines every day to get to work. and so it is in our shared interest for their safety and also for the integrity of the system. i mean, we talk about numbers of deaths confidence in the system is vital. so i want to start in part with that and again extend my congratulations to you, you've been exceptionally responsive and helpful and i hope the senate moves rapidly on your confirmation. there's been a lot of things that have been talked about at today's hearing and i want to make sure we're getting clarity on the record, particularly because of this issue about positive train control and lines owned by amtrak as well as the other lines that we have passengers riding on particularly in the northeast corridor. is there anything else that is needed to get positive train control on all portions of the northeast corridor regardless of
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who owns the track? we know we've got funding for a commitment by amtrak to meet that but we have lines owned in connecticut, substantially, a bit in york, up in massachusetts. is there anything else in terms of fundsing or authorities that is necessary for that? ms. feinberg: well, in terms of funding, there are funding struggles throughout the system on ptc. in terms of authority, we're concerned that some railroads will miss the deadline and we'll lack the authority to force them to implement interim measures that will raise the bar and safety between that moment and when they actually have ptc implemented. we asked and think that's appropriate. if the deadline is going to be missed, we want to make sure that railroads are taking steps to raise the bar in safety before they implement ptc fully. ms. st: if you can follow up with us on the specific authority you need, i have commuter lines dropping down
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from danbury and waterbury through new britain, these are really important for us to check. ms. feinberg: we will do that. >> following up on the question from chairman shuster, and it's a similar question, is there any action you need from congress to follow-up on evaluating the safety of these curves? we want to get high speed rail in. if we're getting derailments well below the acela i take from time to time is running, is there additional authority that you believe you need from us to make that possible? ms. feinberg: i don't believe we need additional authority on the curves, amtrak has supplied us with the curves they are focused on. we'll go back and make sure we agree on actions moving forward on those specific curves. we are continuing to work on next steps that go beyond amtrak on curves and speed. we will have more to say on that in the coming days.
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going back to chairman shuster's question, could more have been done following metro north incident? i'm not sure that comes down to authority so much as regular -- as regulators, we have very few tools and the tools we have are sometimes blunt instruments. emergency order thought is incredibly narrow and can't be as broad as we want. safety advisories are recommendations and don't have to be followed. and rule making process takes years so -- >> thank you, for you, mr. boardman, i have some concern given the importance of these accidents so much emphasis being placed just on ptc. i'm looking at billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades and in particular if you could talk about how are you going about prioritizing the bridges that are 100 years old and more that the northeast corridor runs across these
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bridges every single day. what if any help, in addition to the additional funding which i joined my colleague and not only seat mate but add jas enlt districts that we need more funding to address the issue of infrastructure. which is also safety. if a bridge goes down, that is also a safety concern. can you talk about the prioritization? mr. boardman: certainly, i think one of the most important things that occurred was in the commission that was established in the northeast of all of the states, federal government and amtrak to look at what projects need to be done and how we need to prioritize for the future. a lot of that conversation that's occurred has really identified projects that need to be done. a lot of them bridges and tunnels and the major impacts we need to get done. they have been identified in one particular case, we have ready to build the portal bridge
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which would be a -- about a billion dollar project. our priority is there for these infrastructure improvements which will also improve safety. it's in place. >> thank you. >> you're recognized for mif five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was on the route 24 hours beforehand. i represent new york one on the east end of long island. some other members were traveling with me as well as we're here i would be remiss if i didn't offer my thoughts and prayers to the families of those whose lives were lost. those who were injured. it's a terrible tragedy that took place. i kind of wish that congress had been willing to all of the entire of congress would be willing to allow us and the families to mourn for amtrak and
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for the employees of amtrak, everyone impacted by it. i wish there was more time dedicated towards mourning. unfortunately the next day, and i think it's pretty shameful and disgusting, that not even 24 hours go by and we have an entire party here in congress that was blaming a potential future funding cut on an accident that happened yesterday. i mean, i've heard of spin, but this is a first for me. i mean, literally you wake up the next morning and instead of dedicating your day towards mourning the loss of those -- i mean families that were so greatly impacted, you come onto the floor throughout these halls and you stand in front of the cameras and without saying my heart goes to the family or offering up emotional remorse, immediately you're blaming a potential future funding cut on an accident that happened yesterday. i would challenge anyone to find
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an example of this in history. you couldn't even wait 48 hours. it started the next morning. the engineer was obviously traveling over twice the speed limit, and that's the reason why there's an investigation. it's very important to amtrak that they finish the project of getting ptc operational specifically on the northeast corridor. i know that this body passed legislation. being from the northeast and knowing how profitable the northeast corridor, acela trains are, it's good we see that money get reinvested back into the system. i have colleagues in other parts of the country who may think otherwise and that's ok. parochial in a way to my home state, my home region. i came here from new york state, state legislature, served on the transportation committee. the nta, which is the nation's
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largest mass transit system for that locality and heard metro north talked about and long island railroad. we found a way, republicans and democrats working together to try to create a second track between farmingdale for the long island railroad. there are infrastructure improvements all over the new york city metropolitan area with the involvement of people in new york city, up in albany, working with the nta and unions trying to if i can out how to invest in the infrastructure. and it's also important to note the amtrak legislation passioned by the house, discusses the component that allows the mta to apply for $1 billion in financing. but the investment can be made, it would be very nice if my colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- when we asked it's
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a great idea, how are you going to pay for it? i want to be part of the discussion to figure out how we can invest in our infrastructure across the country. that's what i believe is a matter of principle. but with my final minute and getting back to you, just so i understand something, are there texts on the phone from 9:10 to 9:21? mr. hart: we know there is text and voice activity that day. we're trying to narrow down to specifically what time that day. mr. zeldin: but the phone itself, like when you look at the phone and scroll through texts, it doesn't show a text from 9:10 to 9:21. mr. hart: i don't have that answer yet. we will have an answer to that. mr. zeldin: i understand the frustration. it seems like something that if it gives you access and you know the answer in five minutes. mr. hart: we were surprised by the complexity of it ourselves
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and we're experts at this. mr. zeldin: the entire route, i know you are it has always of these cooperation from the cell phone companies and all of the cell phone towers and pings on towers. for the families that the real advocacy, to try to get your answers and amtrak's efforts and all of you here for that cause the frustration on our end too is on behalf of twinlts and -- on behalf of constituents and families who are eager. they understand when this takes longer than others but maybe they don't understand why we don't have more answers as far as the engineer goes. thanks for being here. >> that is correct, gentle lady -- >> thank you. i very much appreciate and support all of the efforts in the northeast corridor but i would like to shift to the mps for just a few minutes at 11:19 on june 24th, 2011, a tractor-trailer driving north on u.s. 95 slammed into the side of
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amtrak 5 on the cal zepher line at a railroad grade crossing outside the small town of miriam in rural nevada. the driver of the truck was at fault and been on duty for nine hours and he failed to -- the train horn and went ahead and crossed the track. the impact created a fire and killed a driver and train conductor and four passengers and injured 15 other passengers and one additional crew member. ptc wouldn't have stopped that but the investigation that was done by ntsb outlined concerns about side impacts, strength requirements for passenger cars and what happens with impact when it comes from the side. if you look at the report they issued two recommendations were to develop side impact crash worthiness standards, including
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performance validation for passenger rail cars. once those side impact crash worthiness standards have been developed to require that new passenger rail cars being built to this standards. i would ask you, we've had all these investigations, has any research been done on these side collision impacts. >> we're doing research now. >> can you give us information on what that entails or will you be making regulations or changing regulations. >> this research is ongoing and we can get your office a full report. apart from that we've done a tremendous amount of work on grade crossings which has been


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